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NEWS FROM CAPITOL HILL


Last Week
The House and Senate agreed to fund the Department of Homeland Security through Sept. 30. According to supporters, it is said to not include funding for the president's actions on immigration funding. The bill ultimately passed with 167 Republicans voting no, which could lead one to believe that not enough action was taken to satisfy conservative concerns. The Senate attempted to override the president's veto of Keystone XL, but failed by a vote of 62-37, 67 votes were required. In addition, they passed a joint resolution (non-binding) that disapproves and nullifies the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board and published Dec. 15, enacting so-called "Quickie Elections."
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This Week
The Senate will be the only chamber in session, while the House will be in recess this week. The Senate was expected to hold a procedural vote on moving forward on legislation addressing Iran sanctions, but Democratic supporters of the legislation have wavered in their support and vowed to block the bill if it is brought to the floor before the March 24 deadline between the White House and international negotiators. The Senate will also be taking up anti-human trafficking legislation and potentially vote on the nomination of Attorney General.
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Item of Interest
Last week the Supreme Court released a number of decisions, one of great importance related to online sales, specifically, a unanimous ruling for Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl. The legal question in this lawsuit is really about what types of cases are allowed to file suit under the Tax Injunction Act. TIA prohibits federal courts from blocking state tax collections, assessments and policies. A lower court had ruled that it blocked such a legal challenge. The reversal, a unanimous ruling, said taxpayers — or in this case trade groups — could indeed file suit against reporting requirements that are part of a Colorado law, without being constrained from the so-called Tax Injunction Act. The ruling will be viewed as undoing the Colorado law requiring remote sellers to report Colorado consumers' remote purchases for the purpose of going after sales and use tax and could narrow the scope of the online sales taxes in other states, cracking open a door for legal challenges in other jurisdictions.

Justice Anthony Kennedy concurred separately, adding that he believes the Quill and National Bellas Hess decisions establishing the physical presence rule for sales tax are "now inflicting extreme harm and unfairness on the states." Kennedy cites the growth of Internet commerce, the reality of business presence even in the absence of physical presence, and his view that "it is unwise to delay any longer a reconsideration of the court's holding in Quill ... The legal system should find an appropriate case for this court to re-examine Quill and Bellas Hess."

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Sincerely,



Dan Hilton
Director of Government Affairs
American Supply Association
1875 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006

(703) 328-5234 · dhilton@asa.net · www.asa.net

ASA Legislative Fly-in | April 14-15


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LEGISLATIVE UPDATES


Justice Kennedy Gives Hope to Advocates of Online Sales Tax
The Hill
Retail advocates got a boost this week from an unlikely source in their yearslong battle to give states more power to collect sales taxes: the Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote recently that it was time for the court to re-examine the position it has held for the last half century – that states can only collect from companies that have a physical location within their borders. Kennedy's comment gave new hope to supporters of online sales tax legislation who have seen their priority stalled for many years on Capitol Hill.
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The Right Recalibrates
Roll Call
The first meeting of the House Freedom Caucus, founded by nine conservatives in search of a more hard-line alternative to the Republican Study Committee, was supposed to be concerned with organization: drafting the bylaws, choosing a leadership structure, figuring out staffing and dues. But the two dozen or so members invited to the meeting were less interested in the nuts and bolts of forming a caucus than they were with winning a bitter fight with Democrats over immigration policy.
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What Worries Conservatives about Marco Rubio's New Tax Plan
National Journal
This week, Sens. Marco Rubio and Mike Lee introduced a GOP tax reform plan that could serve as a preview of Rubio's agenda if he makes a White House bid — but some conservatives already are skeptical. For businesses, the plan would put the corporate tax rate at a single 25 percent rate and allow firms to deduct 100 percent of expenses, which the lawmakers say would account for the costs of capital investments the year they are made. Dividends and capital gains would not be taxed on the individual level, meaning any money made on many investments would not be subject to tax.
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Immigration Reform Looks Dead in This Congress
Politico
Singed by their defeat in the battle over Homeland Security funding, Republicans aren't about to renew their fight against President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration anytime soon. When the GOP-controlled Senate bent to Democratic demands to fund the Department of Homeland Security, effectively undercutting conservatives who were willing to allow the agency to shut down until Obama backed down, there was talk of Senate GOP leaders returning to the immigration issue to find new ways to thwart Obama's orders.
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Washington Weekly
Dan Hilton, Director of Government Affairs, 703.328.5234
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Bianca Gibson, Executive Editor, MultiView, 469.420.2611  
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